Starting with what we now call HDMI 1.4, manufacturers will have to drop the version numbers from their products and adopt a new naming system.
On the surface it seems like a pretty solid idea. Dropping the number system and replacing it with an easy to understand naming system seems like a nice way to let those with less technical minds get a grasp on what these cables are doing. The new HDMI naming scheme seems to take it a bit too far.
Five different versions of HDMI 1.4 will be available initially. Starting things off, HDMI Standard and HDMI Standard with Ethernet are the base versions of the new HDMI cables. They’re self explanatory, (if lengthy to type). HDMI Standard Automotive is the third, marking the last of the HDMI Standard series. The final two cable types are HDMI High Speed and HDMI High Speed with Ethernet.
The need to add a second tier of cables to the lineup is a bit baffling, and the technical difference between Standard and High Speed HDMI cables is equally strange.
HDMI Standard cables, according to the HDMI Licensing LLC, are designed and tested to transmit 720p and 1080i. The website states the reason being that “the HD resolutions that are commonly associated with cable and satellite television, digital broadcast HD, and upscaling DVD players.”
High Speed HDMI cables on the other hand, are “designed and tested to handle video resolutions of 1080p and beyond, including advanced display technologies such as 4K, 3D, and Deep Color.” Both offer the same Ethernet speeds – a full duplex 100 Mb/sec.
Since 1080p resolution capability is not included in the lower end cables, customers who purchase new HDTVs, Blu-ray players, and game consoles will almost certainly need to purchase the High Speed cables. Already excessive cable prices from many manufacturers can be expected to jump for the new standard.